Egyptian Gods
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Egyptian Gods

The ancient Egyptians did not think of their deities as abstract and distant beings, but believed that they had the same desires and physical needs as all living things; however, the Egyptian gods controlled everything and literally nothing happened that they did not arrange. There were so many different deities that rivalries and contradictions were inevitable; for example, Horus, who avenged the murder of his father Osiris, was worshiped but so was Seth, the murderer. The Egyptians were optimistic and believed that "the gods are content and happy of heart, and life is spent in laughter and wonder." The following are twelve of the most important Egyptian deities.

Re, sun god of Heliopolis, became a state deity in the Fifth Dynasty, some traditions made him the creator of men, and the Egyptians called themselves "the cattle of Re."

Osiris, god of the earth and vegetation, symbolized in his death the yearly drought and in his miraculous rebirth the periodic flooding of the Nile and the growth of grain.

Isis, wife and sister of Osiris, gifted with great magical powers, protector of children and therefore one of the most popular gods.

Horus, the falcon-headed god, holds in his right hand the ankh, the symbol of life. The kings of Egypt associated themselves with Horus, the son of Isis and Osiris.

Nephthys, sister of Isis, goddess of women, her name means "Lady of the Castle," and she was associated with the home of Osiris, whom she helped to restore to life.

Anubis, the jackal-god of mummification, assisted in the rites by which a dead man was admitted to the underworld.

Hathor, horned cow-goddess of love, deity of happiness, dance, and music, when a child was born, seven Hathors came to his bedside to decide his future life.

Seth, lord of Upper Egypt, a big-eared imaginary animal resembling a donkey, he was associated with desert and storms.

Thoth, god of wisdom, depicted as an ibis or a baboon, often associated with the moon: as the sun vanished, Thoth tried to dispel the darkness with his light.

Ptah, local god of Memphis, patron of craftsmen, some legends say that he spoke the names of all things in the world and thereby caused them to spring into existence.

Sobek, a crocodile-god worshiped in cities that depended on water, such as the oasis city of Crocodilopolis where the reptiles were kept in pools and adorned with jewels.

Amon, god of Thebes, usually shown as human but sometimes as a ram or a goose, the Romans later worshiped him as Jupiter Amon and consulted oracles at his temple.


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